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ISpA, GIFAS sign pact to boost India-France space collaboration

The Indian Space Conclave 2023, organized by the Indian Space Association (ISpA), commenced in New Delhi on Monday, focusing on fostering collaboration between India and France in the space sector. The event witnessed the presence of representatives from both the French and Indian space industry, including leaders, startups, and government officials.

ISpA, which was established as the primary representative organization for the Indian space industry, and GIFAS (Groupement des industries françaises aéronautiques et spatiales), the French Aerospace Industries Association signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) during the event to enhance mutual understanding of space industry capabilities, increase awareness of business opportunities in France and India, and promote sustainable growth and innovation in both countries’ space industries. The MoU also seeks to strengthen the existing Indo-French relationship in the space sector.

One of the key aspects of this partnership is facilitating academic and educational programme exchanges between both organizations, which will encompass training at all levels and contribute to nurturing human capital and enhancing the skilled workforce in India and France. Research and technology will play a pivotal role in the collaboration, identifying common interests, promoting joint research and technology programmes, and sharing insights into space policies.

Cédric Post, Deputy Director of International, European, and Commercial Affairs at GIFAS, expressed his excitement about the collaboration, saying, “The MoU signed with ISpA underscores our shared commitment to strengthening industry collaboration and fostering an environment of innovation, business development, and sound policy regulation. The convergence of public and private sectors is set to redefine the landscape of the space sector, and India and France are poised to lead this transformation.”

He also announced that in 2024, a delegation of French industrial players in the space and aerospace sectors will visit India in October for another roadshow and networking event.

Lt. Gen. AK Bhatt (Retd.), Director General of the Indian Space Association, emphasised the significance of the collaboration, stating, “The collaboration between public and private sectors promises to propel us to new heights, fostering innovation and driving progress like never before. In this journey, I must acknowledge the importance of our alliance with France, a crucial partner in our space exploration endeavours.”

The Indo-French space collaboration, which began decades ago, has achieved significant milestones, with both nations joining forces for India’s ambitious human spaceflight initiative, Gaganyaan, and France contributing expertise in areas such as space medicine and astronaut health. It was said that France’s participation in ISRO’s upcoming Venus mission in 2025 further solidifies the partnership’s importance in the global space exploration landscape.

At the event, Astronaut Thomas Pesquet of the European Space Agency highlighted the pivotal role of space exploration in addressing global challenges such as climate change and emphasized the boundless possibilities that await through collaboration and the integration of private industries into the space sector.

Meanwhile, S Somanath, Chairman of ISRO, who shared his thoughts via a video at the event, commended ISpA for fostering an ecosystem that nurtures space startups and emphasized the transformative potential of the space sector for the betterment of humanity.

He further said: “We are also looking at bringing more foreign investment in space and for that, FDI governing rules will soon be released for this to happen. We are also looking into how more markets can be created in the space sector, especially in expanding communication networks in various domains.”

“Space sector now has a large strategic importance and realizing that the role played by all the actors to strengthen the strategic capabilities of a nation becomes important and this also opens up the opportunity for expansion of the sector,” he noted. News18

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